Thursday, December 23, 2010

VALENCIA BACK IN LINEUP FOR YAQUIS

It’s been a long year for second baseman Carlos Valencia, but after two surgeries on his knee and some rehab time in the Mexican Northwest League, the 31-year-old All-Star is back in action with his hometown Obregon Yaquis.

“It was very difficult and very frustrating,” Valencia said about the long road back to the playing field. “As a player you want to be on the field as soon as possible, but I also knew I had to be 100 percent to return and be useful to the team….The important thing is to be healthy and help the team in the playoffs.”

After hitting .311 with 14 homers and a Mexican Pacific League-best 63 RBIs last winter for the Yaquis, Valencia had a tough Mexican League season with the Mexico City Diablos Rojos as knee injuries limited him to 33 games and a .270 average with just five homers. He’d belted 121 homers in his previous seven Liga campaigns, including 32 longballs for Tijuana in 2005. and played for Mexico in the 2009 Baseball World Cup.

Valencia arrived home in Obregon after spending rehab time with the Diablos’ Tuxpan affiliate in the Liga Noroeste, where he hit .195 with no homers and five RBIs in 25 games.